Blog Entry

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:13 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 2:28 pm
Johnny Damon doesn't get it, doesn't get why he's not getting offers after the year he had. Damon didn't get why he didn't receive an offer from the incumbent Rays after he was a leader for them in the clubhouse and on the field, and now he doesn't get why he seemingly is running second as a candidate to be the Yankees' left-handed DH.

"I think it's a perfect fit,'' Damon said of the Yankees by phone. "But for some reason you have the year I had, especially with a team that has trouble scoring, and you can't even get a call to continue playing."

It is hard to blame Damon for feeling left out. The whole thing does seem very odd, indeed.

Damon said he never got an offer from the Rays even though he had a very nice year, hitting 16 home runs with 73 RBIs with 19 stolen bases and a .261 batting average while playing home games in the ballpark that was the best pitchers' park American League last year. He also put together an improbable streak of five consecutive games with game-winning hits and became a leader with the young team that had a magical finish. Now he is concerned that the Yankees are leaning toward someone else (namely Raul Ibanez), and indeed the team's baseball people do seem to be favoring Ibanez for the DH role even though it seems no final decision will be made until the Yankees complete the long-discussed deal with Pittsburgh to send A.J. Burnett out of town and save themselves about $13 million of the $33 million owed Burnett.

Meanwhile, different reasons have been heard why the Yankees favor Ibanez, one sillier than the next.

One reason heard is that Ibanez hit better against right-handed pitchers last year, and if you count .256 as better than .255, then yes, that is the case. But it seems like that would be far from a driving force in a decision.

Another is that Ibanez is a better defender at this stage, and while he might well be, Damon is faster and the reality is that they are probably pretty close to comparable at this point. Damon didn't play much defense last year when the Rays had better defensive alternatives such as Brandon Jennings, B.J. Upton and Sam Fuld. "When you have Jennings and Upton, of course I'm going to DH," Damon said. "When I played out there, I held my own."

But even if Ibanez is slightly better with the glove now, having played it regularly in Philly, defense seems like a funny way to pick a DH.

Yet another reason heard recently is that Damon's .326 on-base percentage last year is a sign he's thinking too much about 3,000 hits and not getting on like before. This is the winner for sheer ridiculousness of course, as Ibanez's 2011 on-base percentage of .289 (with 33 walks all year) would be the statistic of concern, not Damon's .326. Speaking of 3,000 and the suggestion he's too focused on it, Damon said, "It makes for good talk. ... Everyone wants to get to the mark. But I never started playing the game for that. I never had any intention of getting to 3,000 hits -- it's never been a driving force for me. I always had the intention of being a good teammate."

Damon is more than a fine teammate, he's been a key man on two World Series winners, the historic 2004 Boston Red Sox and the 2009 Yankees. Damon is a winner, always has been. Ibanez is by all accounts a very nice fellow, but Damon is a big clubhouse presence who always has been the one to stand up and answer the tough questions when things aren't going well.

Damon, who at 38 is also a year younger than Ibanez, may not be the defender he once was, but the job is for a DH, and Damon has all the experience at that. Damon also has a superb history in the American League East, having thrived for all three of the big teams in that division.

Damon and the Yankees had a very public breakup a couple winters ago when he was expected to wind up back in pinstripes. The sides never got together when a deal had once seemed like a foregone conclusion. But Yankees people say there are no lingering bad feelings.

It can't be about the money, either, because Damon hasn't gotten an offer. He said he didn't get one from Tampa, which gave Luke Scott a $5 million deal off an injury year, and he hasn't gotten one from the Yankees yet. So Tampa took Scott off a year of injuries, and Damon sees that Ibanez may get the job he wants after Ibanez's season of outs.

Damon is in Hawaii enjoying a planned vacation. But he has one eye on the phone.

"Hopefully it rings soon," he said, "and whether it rings in a few minutes or a few weeks, I'll be ready with the bat."

Category: MLB

Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:27 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

He really doesn't get it ???  Really ???  The Yankees wanted him a couple of years ago, but his salary DEMANDS were over the top. I say over the top because he signed with a different team for much less.  He is not a good outfielder anymore. He has limited ability at the plate.  I say that because he is not a HR threat as a primary DH should be.  He is a 38 year old that hits singles, and will occasionally steal a bag or two.  Isn't there quite a few people like that still available?

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:11 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Damon, as much as it pains me to say this would fit well with Texas, Seattle and Oakland if he is looking for game time. He may be beneficial, especially to the latter 2 teams in refernce to helpiing the younger players, coming through develop and offering advice.

I may benefit Oakland slightly more because of the Cespedes signing as well however don't believe these scenarios will play out. He will end up Yankee stadium by the end of Spring training

Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:19 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Johnny Damon crapped in his Red Sox hat twice. That may be why they aren't calling.

Red Sox fans remember when Damon said he didn't care about the almighty dollar, that wasn't what he was interested in. Damon then signed with the Yankees when the Yankees outbid the Sox. Damon then said "No" when the Red Sox made an on waiver claim at the end of Damon's one-year Tiger career.

You can't come home when you crap in your hat Johnny Crapper, you idiot! 

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: February 16, 2012 6:45 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Damon is the biggest mercenary in the game today. His only loyalty is to the almighty $. His entire career he went to the highest bidders. Every team he started the season with he had the same opening remarks: "I very happy to get the chance to play here"..ka ching...ka  ching...ka ching. In spite of that, he is a very good clutch performer/hitter.

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

I think its more of what Damon would want per year if he signs. Hes an ok player now, but hes not worth more then 2 mill a year, hes horrible in the OF and not really a lead off hitter anymore. This league is becoming younger and younger each year, he just needs to  tell his agent to tell teams that hell take a min contract, if his 3,000 hit is that imporant hell play for damn big league chew

Since: Feb 27, 2009
Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:34 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

I loved watching Damon Play the year he was in Detroit. In the age where stat geeks run baseball teams like the Red Sox you still need players with heart and desire. He will find a home somewhere this year.

Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:11 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Really??? Are you really that stupid to think damon wouldn't be a decent pick for the dh postion. How many at bats do you think the dh will get this year with , lets see - arod , jeter , tex and swisher getting days off from the field. Hes' aways been a hard working player and is a really good teammate. Damon is a yankee and should retire as one!!!!!

Since: Feb 16, 2012
Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:05 pm

Damon noodle arm please retire.

Damons phone is silent as it should be. The Yanks want someone who can field the ball besides DH. Noodle arm Johnny is a poor choice. Heyman has been shilling for Damon for 2 weeks now. What a crock. If you need any other reason not to sign this bozo the very idea that he could get 3,000 hits and be in a hall of fame discussion is enough to make many a fan vomit. Go home Johnny "swings like a girl" Damon and don`t let the door hit you in the arse. 

Since: Nov 11, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:46 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

I agree.  If the choice is Damon or Ibanez, then Damon is the easy choice.  Ibanez is a one-dimensional hitter.  Has HR power (or at least he did), but can't hit lefties, doesn't run well, doesn't work the count, low OBP, DP guy.  He's everything the Yankees dislike in a hitter. Worse, indications are that Ibanez collapsed last year as a hitter, which is not too comforting as he heads into his age-40 season.  He'd also be switching to the tougher AL East.

Damon is just the opposite. He's thrived in the AL and the AL East. He has no issues with the pressure of NYC and is a positive in the clubhouse. While he's not the player he was at his peak, his decline has been gradual, still grinding out bats, driving up pitch counts, a skill the Yankees highly value.  His OPS+ numbers of 118, 118, 105 and 110 the last four years indicate some decline, but nothing drastic like Ibanez, and take into account that Damon has played in tougher hitters' parks at home the last three years.  Yet in the Trop last year he still hit 16 HRs, still stole 19 bases, he still is a plus baserunner who remains one of the most difficult men in baseball history to double up.  The Yankees could bat him at the top of the lineup, or pretty much anywhere.  None of this can be said for Ibanez.  We also know that Damon loves hitting at the new Yankee Stadium, seemingly mastering the Bobby Murcer LH'd HR pull to the short porch in right.  Best of all, unlike Ibanez, Damon can hit lefties.  He always has, including last year. even showing a reverse platoon split.  I wouldn't be concerned about that since it's most likely randomness, but it does show his ability to hit lefties remains, a skill we would expect to fade if age was coming into play. That's a strength. When the opposing manager brings in a lefty specialist to face Damon, Girardi would have the option of keeping Damon in the game.  Not so with Ibanez, who would have to be pulled, or his AB would have to be sacrificed. 

Damon over Ibanez make so much sense that I believe the Ibanez rumors are being put out there by the Yankees to drive down Damon's price. There is no rational reason to pick Ibanez over Damon.

Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:41 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

I understand that the Burnett deal has to get done first but I hope Damon is on speed dial.

I agree that Damon is the guy based on numbers and chemistry but what I like about him most is what they still haven't figured out a stat for (RIP GWRBI) -- he is CLUTCH

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